ULEZ Frequently Asked Questions
It imposes a daily charge on vehicles that drive through the zone, and which do not align to certain emission limits. The ULEZ originally only applied to central London – but, on 29th August 2023, it expanded to cover the whole of Greater London.
Here are our most frequently asked questions on the ULEZ:
- What does ULEZ mean?
- What is ULEZ?
- What is ULEZ compliant?
- How much is the ULEZ charge?
- When did ULEZ start?
- What does ULEZ compliant mean?
- What cars are exempt from ULEZ?
- Where is the ULEZ zone?
- When did the ULEZ expand city-wide?
- How to pay ULEZ?
- Are London residents exempt?
- Does the congestion charge still apply?
Need to check your car’s ULEZ status?
Our free ULEZ checker can tell you instantly if your car is compliant. Just enter your vehicle’s reg to find out.
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What does ULEZ mean?
ULEZ stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone. This makes it different to the LEZ, or Low Emission Zone, which does not apply to cars, at present.
What is ULEZ?
ULEZ is an area of London where drivers face a fine for driving high-polluting vehicles. The ULEZ has been in place since 2019, when it covered a small area of central London. On 29th August 2023, it expanded again to encompass the whole of Greater London.
It does not matter if you live, work, or simply drive through London, all vehicles within the ULEZ zone that are not compliant with the emissions regulations must pay the daily charge. The exception to this is if a car is parked within the zone but not driven.
What is ULEZ compliant?
To be ULEZ compliant means a car must meet certain emission standards. At present, these standards are Euro 6 for diesel cars and Euro 4 for petrol cars. These standards outline the number of NOx gases (Nitrogen oxide gas created by nitrogen and oxygen combusting) that a car can emit:
- Euro 6 Diesel Emissions Standards (grammes per kilometre): 0.50 CO, 0.08 NOx, 0.005 PM
- Euro 4 Petrol Emissions Standards (grammes per kilometre): 1.0 g CO, 0.08 NOx, no limit PM
For electric vehicles, NOx gases are not an issue as they are zero-emissions, and therefore all ULEZ compliant so long as they can drive 20 miles per single charge.
96% of passenger vehicles driven in Greater London are already ULEZ-compliant. Most diesel engines made since 2016, and petrol engines made since 2006, will automatically meet these standards, but it is still important to check whether your vehicle is ULEZ-compliant.
How much is the ULEZ charge?
The ULEZ charge is £12.50 per day and runs every day of the year, except Christmas Day. No matter how long you spend in the zone, whether it’s one minute or one day, you have to pay the charge. You will only be charged once per day, so you can enter and leave the zone as many times as you want within 24 hours and pay £12.50 fee once.
If you fail to pay the charge, you may be hit with a penalty charge notice, which currently costs £180.
You run the risk of a penalty charge notice if you:
- Are not exempt from the ULEZ charge and drive in the zone
- Have not paid the charge by midnight on the next working day after the first day of travel
- Did not register the vehicle with Transport for London (TfL)
- Made an error when registering your vehicle e.g. incorrect number plate
- Paid by post without allowing enough time for delivery
When did ULEZ start?
The ULEZ came into effect in 2019 and was then extended on the 25th of October 2021.
The area of the zone expanded again city-wide on 29th August 2023.
What cars are exempt from ULEZ?
You should make sure to check if your car is ULEZ compliant by using our ULEZ checker.
Generally, diesel cars with a manufacturing date of September 2015 or later should be fine, as Euro 6 became standard for new vehicles around this time. For petrol cars, a manufacturing date of January 2006 or later should be Euro 4 compliant.
Never assume you are ULEZ exempt without checking.
Where is the ULEZ?
The ULEZ was expanded in August 2023 to cover all of Greater London.
ULEZ does not operate in any other UK city at present, but Birmingham does have its own CAZ, or Clean Air Zone, and other cities are starting their own pilot projects for low emissions zones.
When did the ULEZ expand city-wide?
On 29th August, 2023, the ULEZ expanded to cover the area of Greater London.
This means that all 9m inhabitants of the capital and its surrounding area will be better protected from the public health and environmental risks of air pollution caused by road transport.
Despite the ULEZ area changing, the charge remained the same at £12.50 per day, and the same emissions standards still apply: diesel cars must comply with Euro 6 to avoid the charge, and petrol cars must comply with Euro 4.
The fine for non-payment will increase to £180.
Also in August 2023, a new £160m scrappage scheme was introduced by TfL as a relief programme for Londoners, to avoid charges.
How to pay ULEZ
The ULEZ charge can be paid in several ways. It’s important to remember that the charge must be paid by midnight on the next working day after your first day of travel. You can pay the fee:
- Autopay if you regularly travel in the ULEZ
- On the TfL app
For all methods, you will require a payment card. Do not pay through unauthorised websites or through anyone posing as an official taking cash payments.
Are London residents exempt?
No, unless your vehicle is exempt due to being low emission, there are no special allowances made for local drivers.
Does the congestion charge still apply?
Yes, you will additionally have to pay the congestion charge if you drive in a congestion zone, as well as the ULEZ. Be sure to check if your car is exempt from either the congestion charge or the ULEZ.
Selling your car?
- ULEZ checker – check compliance for your vehicle
- How to sell an electric car
- Electric cars — should you buy or sell?
- What is a hybrid car and how do they work?
- LPG cars — the ultimate guide
- How long does it take to charge an electric car?
- How & where to charge your electric car at home and on the road
- Do electric cars pay the congestion charge?
- Do electric cars need servicing?